November 18, 2012
Column: It's prime time for Florida State & the ACC
With the 41-14 win over Maryland on Saturday Florida State achieved one of its primary preseason goals - earn a berth to the ACC Championship game.
Having the opportunity to play for a conference title is a notable accomplishment but this weekend's game will ultimately define FSU's season. The 10-1 Florida Gators come to town for the annual in-state showdown. And for the first time since the 2000 season both teams enter the contest ranked in the top 10.
The outcome of Florida-Florida State game is always meaningful but this year's matchup will take on added importance. The 'Noles are looking to make it three straight over their in-state rivals and retain the unofficial title of state champions. Capping off the regular season with a huge win in front of dozens of top rated recruits could also greatly aid Jimbo Fisher and his staff during the stretch run for recruiting. Finally, a victory over the Gators would keep alive FSU's very thin hopes at getting into the national championship hunt (see below).
While there's a big upside should the 'Noles prevail on Saturday a loss would probably represent an even greater downside.
A conference championship would be a significant accomplishment and represent the fulfillment of another preseason goal. That being said it won't mean nearly as much were the 'Noles to lose their regular season finale to a bitter rival. The truth of the matter is that outside of FSU and Clemson, the ACC is a lousy conference. Other than Clemson, FSU hasn't played a team even close to being ranked all season. In fact, Duke, Miami and NC State, all with 6-5 records, are only other teams on the slate with winning records and FSU went two for three in those games.
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